John Gibson (via NHL/YouTube)
The new All-Star Game format was a winner and provided fans with more than a few great moments. Watch five of the best highlights from the game, including two of the best saves of the season.
The All-Star Game is usually headlined by the game’s best goal scorers taking over, but it was the lovable story of John Scott and the goaltenders who really stole the show.
The three-game 3-on-3 tournament was a winning format — fun, fast and packed with highlights — but it wasn’t the offensive showdown one may have expected. Consider the final game of the tournament in which the Pacific Division team, led by Scott, won the 3-on-3 competition by a final score of 1-0. No one expected to see an all-star shutout.
If you missed the games, here are five of the best clips from the 3-on-3 tournament:
5. Patrick Kane goons it up after goal
The All-Star Game isn’t a place you’d expect to see a hit, a scrum or a fight. Fans in Nashville were treated to all three in a span of 15 seconds. First, John Scott stood up Kane as he crossed the red line. Scott’s breakaway attempt didn’t end up in the back of the net, which gave Central goaltender Pekka Rinne the chance to spring Kane and Jamie Benn on a 2-on-1.
Kane finished the play with a goal, and immediately went over to his former teammate Scott to have a few words and exchange some playful jabs.
4. John Scott goes top shelf
No one took Scott for a sniper and few expected him to score any goals that weren’t beautiful set-ups, but the veteran tough guy did it all Sunday night. In the second game of the day, the Pacific squad’s captain was sent on a breakaway where he used his size to fend off a check from Matt Duchene before firing the puck top shelf on goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
The post-goal celebration doesn’t hold a candle to his moves after he scored the Pacific’s first goal, but the finish was better.
3. Evgeni Malkin spins Ben Bishop into the ice
The spin-o-rama has been banned from the shootout, but Malkin saw his chance to bust out the move on a breakaway in the tournament-opener against Team Atlantic. Bishop covers a substantial portion of the bottom of the net, but not enough to stop Malkin’s attempt.
That said, it’s hard not to wonder what Malkin was originally going for. As he crosses the blueline, he’s attempting to juggle the puck on his stick. Could we have seen him bat it out of the air into the net? That would have been something.
2. Jonathan Quick bends backwards for glove stop
The 1-0 score in the final could have very well been different if it weren’t for a dazzling effort from Jonathan Quick early in the contest. The Atlantic squad was buzzing in the Pacific’s zone when Patrice Bergeron threw a pass to Aaron Ekblad who then tapped the puck to Leo Komarov.
Alone in front of Quick, Komarov directed a puck on goal that flipped up and over the Kings’ netminder, but Quick, in typical fashion, contorted his body to catch a piece of the puck and send it out of harm’s way.
1. John Gibson stones Tyler Seguin with split-legged save
Goalies usually aren’t giving it their all at the all-star game for a few reasons, one of which is that goaltenders could risk injury if they’re sprawling all over the ice attempting to make desperation saves. Rookie netminder John Gibson, though, decided to make the best play of the entire All-Star Game when he flew cross-crease to make a toe save on Tyler Seguin.
Listen to NBC’s Doc Emrick. That’s playoff-level excitement after Gibson’s save. No one in the building expected Gibson to make a split-legged save on the cross-ice pass, and the ovation from fans was great.
Making it even better? The Pacific went down the ice and added to their lead thanks to Taylor Hall.